For the love of a good title

Part of the publishing process is ceding control of aspects of your work that you’ve become attached or accustomed to. And I’m fine with that. I wanted to get my work traditionally published by a publishing house (or somewhat untraditionally, in the case of Joffe Books), and I know that I’m essentially selling my book to the experts, to do with what they think best. I’m just happy to have found a collaborative company that will work in tandem with me on these aspects.

One of them – a big one – is the title of my book. On this, I actually agree that it needs changing. The working title has been The Other Me for several years (although not actually from the very beginning) and I chose this for its sense of intrigue, the suggestion of an alternate life. But it has a couple of big problems.

One issue is that nobody – not even my closest friends and family who have read the book – can remember it. For some reason, it just doesn’t stick in anyone’s brains. It’s always, “Hey, great news about your book… what was it called again?”

An even bigger problem is that The Other Me as a title is not really commercial enough from a contemporary romance readership point of view. My book is, in my publisher Kate’s words, “an achingly romantic novel” and the title needs to truly reflect this to bring in the readers.

When I met with Kate in London recently, we talked about how the new title needs to bring in that romance element, while not losing the hint at the alternative life/timeline. Just like, Kate observed, the way The Time Traveler’s Wife does so deftly – just by adding “wife” to “time traveler” you instantly know there’s a love story. Kate told me that her boss, Jasper Joffe, had suggested using the word “husband” in my book’s title because of this. After all, my protagonist wakes up in an alternate life in Manhattan with a husband she doesn’t know, and it’s their romance that is the driving force of the story. Considering that The Time Traveler’s Wife has exactly the type of readership I’m pursuing, I’m totally on board with this approach.

As a marketing and brand communications professional in my day job, of course I don’t want to leave it entirely to Kate and the Joffe team to come up with the new title. I’m eager for suggestions, but I have my own ideas! So I’ve been scrawling lists of possible alternatives, and emailing some to Kate over the past few weeks since we met in Soho. Here are a few ideas we bounced around but tossed out:
The Manhattan Husband
My Manhattan Husband
Her Manhattan Husband
My Otherworldy Husband
My Husband in Another Life

None was really working, mostly because it was tough to marry (no pun intended) the word “husband” with a magical element – and “Manhattan” gave a great sense of place but not the alternate-life part. Then I realized maybe it’s not the word “husband” that’s necessary, but just the suggestion of romance or love. With this in mind, I figured out a new title, and Kate really liked it!

So, the new working title of my novel is…

The Love of My Other Life

I see this title in a bold type with “Other” in a different font or style, to show the play on the romantic cliche “The Love of My Life” while highlighting the alternative-life element of the book. I think it works, and is sufficiently intriguing! And there’s something gratifying about keeping the word “Other” from my previous title.

Now let’s see if it sticks, before I start changing it on this website and all my social media feeds!